Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens



a little mennonite goes a long way

we have nigh pleasured ourselves to death,
sing the children. orgasm is immortal,
say the ads. so if you ask me,
drowning as we are in the
syrup of our lusts, everyone could use a
little mennonite at their side. dressed
in black. hollow-eyed and tight-lipped.
gloom pressing like anvils on his shoulders.
recondite in homilies of grief. and

(1) if things feel just fine and brand new
(2) if everything is going a bit
too well (3) if you have no regrets (4) if
someone seems to have all the answers
(5) if the latest toy is a lot of fun
(6) if you're interviewed on tv and the interviewer
smiles a lot (7) if you win an award
(8) if there are brand new plans for reform (9) if the
poor are well cared for and (10) everyone is
free (11) if you're having a good time
(12) if the world is at peace (13) if morning
seems just right (14) if the house
is neat and clean (15) if you haven't
lost anything lately-the little mennonite

will studiously clear his throat, and tell you

(1) this world is old and broken-down (2) it's
headed for collapse (3) and you're responsible
(4) there are no answers (5) pleasure is the
devil's invitation to hell (6) killers like to
smile (7) and hand out awards just before they
murder you (8) this world can't be fixed
(9) the poor are with us always (10) freedom
(11) contentment (12) and peace are
illusions (13) eternal evening is just around
the corner (14) when we shall all be caught
unprepared and (15) everything will be lost.

all this advice could spoil your evening. but
don't resent it, the little mennonite has your
best interests at heart, he only wants to prepare you
for the worst, which always happens. so
sit down with him, share some zwieback and borscht.
you know, he says, turning to you gravely,
kindly, this could be our last meal.

© Robert Martens




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